2017, January, 09

United Breaks Guitars

You may know this story as it is from 2009.  But it is an evergreen classic, an entertaining cautionary tale of what can happen when a company does not care about causing pain points to its customers, and worse yet, when it does not handle its aftermath properly.  Enjoy the story, and heed its message well!

In 2009, country music singer Dave Carroll was taking a domestic flight on United Airlines, when to his dismay, noticed baggage handlers throwing his guitar case around outside the plane. When he brought the inappropriate treatment and resulting instrument damage to the airline’s attention, United repeatedly refused to acknowledge it and give the requested $1,200 in vouchers as compensation.  So Dave took matters in his own hands.  He created a song and music video of his experience with the title ‘United Breaks Guitars’, which generated over 10 million views, a massive PR headache, and a 10% dip in United’s stock price – a market value loss of $180 million.  A steep, costly lesson for United in mistreating customers, and underestimating their power to strike back.

Watch the amusing video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

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